Rainfall-Runoff Modelling and Flood Hydrology

Module aims

  • To introduce rainfall-runoff concepts and methods and to understand modelling methodologies. This is important as rainfall-runoff models are hydrological tools, extensively used to support flood and water resource design and management and, increasingly, in broader environmental management applications, including water quality and hydro-ecological modelling.
  • To understand flood hydrology: current design, simulation methods, and developments needed to meet new challenges, such as the management of land use and climate change.

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing this course unit, students will be able to: 

  • Become familiar with rainfall-runoff models
  • Carry out rainfall-runoff model-building and performance analysis.

Module syllabus

Week No.  




Introduction; why to use rainfall-runoff models; modelling stages; model types; data requirements, and evolution of rainfall-runoff models.  

Dr A. Paschalis 


Empirical models: Rational Method, Curve number method, Unit Hydrograph, Geomorphological Unit Hydrograph. Modelling tutorial. 

Dr A. Paschalis 


Lumped Hydrological Models. Soil Moisture Accounting and routing models. Modelling tutorial. 

Dr A. Paschalis 


Model calibration. Tutorial on automatic calibration. 

Dr A. Paschalis 


Sensitivity Analysis. Introduction to global sensitivity analysis. Tutorial on global sensitivity analysis 

Dr A. Paschalis 


Distributed Models (1) Geographic data analysis. Catchment delineation. River network extraction algorithms. Surface water routing algorithms. 

Dr A. Paschalis 


Distributed Models (2) Representation of physical processes in current generation hydrological models. Modelling tutorial 

Dr A. Paschalis 


Operational Flood Forecasting 

Michael Vaughan 


Revision and Project presentations 

Dr A. Paschalis 

Teaching methods

Lectures and tutorial sessions. The teaching materials are supported with tutorials in rainfall-runoff modelling using Matlab. 


Information will be provided separately.

Reading list

Module leaders

Dr Athanasios Paschalis